cover image Superman: Grounded

Superman: Grounded

J. Michael Straczynski and Eddy Barrows. DC, $22.99 (168p) ISBN 978-1-4012-3075-3

Humanizing Superman can be a difficult proposition, given the scope of his powers. In the “Grounded” story arc, the first six issues of which are included in this graphic novel, Straczynski and Barrows bring Superman to the ground, facing everyday problems and reminding himself that the big issues that face the world aren’t the only problems that are important. The effect is a Superman that is approachable, not only to readers but to the Americans in the comics. What could come off as a condescending call to community involvement instead reads as Superman’s earnest nature: he really believes that everyone—including himself—should try to make the world a better place. The artwork echoes the earnest tone with typically bright colors and as much focus on facial expressions as dramatic action. Exchanges between Superman and Batman or Superman and Lois provide laughs in an otherwise serious story. The biggest flaw with this compilation is that it contains only part of the story; a new enemy will presumably take Superman back to loftier concerns in future installments. The spin on Superman will intrigue some fans while others wait to return to the status quo. (Aug.)